Spring Schedule!

November 6, 2007 at 8:48 pm (School)

My schedule for next semester is (basically) finalized! I’m very excited! Here’s the basic outline:

A) Vienna: The course not only includes an exploration of various points of connection between fin-de-siécle scholars but also between seemingly disparate projects, historical time periods, and characteristics of individual people. From the historical perspective, what critical parallels exist between fin-de-siécle Vienna and our own contemporary times? On the architectural level, did Otto Wagner’s designs allow the Viennese citizens to “disappear in a crowd, to become a ‘number,'” that is, to remain disconnected with one another? In terms of biography, how did Gustav Klimt link content and style in his paintings? How did he connect the work of the French Impressionists to the Secession movement he so masterfully led in Vienna? While exploring these questions collectively, our students will gain vital insight into the question of “how is it connected?” while simultaneously establishing connections of their own.

B) Virtual Communities: Why do people create virtual lives in on-line mediums such as Second Life? How do residents of the Pacific island of Tonga use the Internet to maintain connections to native place even when work takes them thousands of miles away? How do reality TV shows, televised presidential debates, and serial dramas shape our understandings of self, community, and nation? This course will address these questions by moving beyond the boundaries of the physically-delimited societies most commonly studied by anthropologists to consider communities – both real and imagined – connected through electronic media including radio, television, and, most recently, the Internet. In addition to analyzing regular readings and films, students will develop an ethnographic study of an on-line community of their choice.

C) 20th Century Philosophy: In this course we will read, discuss and critique representative samples of the work of classic 20th century analytic philosophers such as Bertrand Russell, G.E. Moore, Ludwig Wittgenstein, A.J. Ayer, Gilbert Ryle, J.L. Austin and John Searle, and David Lewis. The topics that we will focus on may include epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, the “elimination” of metaphysics, and non-cognitive ethics.

D) Literature, Technology, and Society: Invented Worlds: From Walden Pond to The Matrix: In general, this course looks at literary and nonliterary texts that react, in given societies and periods of history, to technological change and the social effects of technology. This semester, we will be looking at invented worlds, as the title states, from Walden Pond to The Matrix. We will be focusing on the invented world that is currently developing known as Second Life.

Sounds like fun, huh? I can’t wait to basically live online with the 2 virtual communities classes! That means more blogging! Yey!

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